Illinois state representatives Tim Butler, Sara Jiminez, David Olsen, Margo McDermed (Minority Transportation Spokesperson), and Marcus Evans (Transportation Chairman) went on a three-hour bus tour of downstate roads and bridges to highlight the need for transportation funding, the Illinois Association of Aggregates Producers (IAAP) reports in it Update newsletter. They were joined by high-level officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), including Deputy Secretary Omer Osman, Region 4 Engineer Jeff South, and Deputy Secretary Justine Reisinger.
The Transportation For Illinois Coalition (TFIC) coordinated and sponsored the tour which took the legislators on interstates, state highways, county highways, township roads, and over bridges built and maintained by different highway jurisdictions to show them the many different types of roads and road conditions in the Illinois transportation network. The lawmakers received an up-close perspective of conditions and challenges facing transportation officials in the state. All routes had different condition ratings by IDOT.
The legislators and IDOT officials also stopped at the Altorfer Cat distributorship in Springfield, where they got a hands-on experience with operating a Cat skid loader by remote control. Both legislators and IDOT officials had positive comments about the tour, as well as the need for greater investment from the General Assembly to keep Illinois’ transportation infrastructure investment secure.
These “legislative champions,” as TFIC refers to them, have pledged to be the first line advocates inside their individual caucuses when it comes to a new transportation infrastructure investment plan. A similar tour is scheduled for September 17th in the Chicago Metro area.
Assisting TFIC in coordinating the tour was were Asphalt Pavement Executive Director Kevin Burke, Jim Randolph with the Illinois Ready Mix Concrete Association, Steve Zahn with the Operating Engineers, Matt Hart with the Illinois Trucking Association, representatives from Caterpillar and its distributor Altorfer Co., as well as Executive Director Bill Frey from the Associated General Contractors of Illinois (AGCI). Also assisting with the tour was Menard County Highway Engineer Tom Casson, as well as to the IAAP and Hanson Material Service, which provided a tour of its quarry in Menard County.